CRJ

Sustainable Prospects // Next Chapter

As we start Sustainable Prospects, I am excited to take a new approach to my work. In both method and presentation.

At the end of Surfaces and Strategies, I felt that my work was not really where I wanted it and was not feeling very inspired by it. I think that the work I produced was fine, but laked in depth and style, partly because I was not shooting or approaching the project truly how I wanted to and that led me to overlook a look a lot of details.

Over our time off I took time to rethink my approach and asked myself what I really want from this project.

  • Do I want to be looking beyond digital photography and what are the pros and cons of doing that?

Yes. I think working with film, both 35mm and 120 will not only allow me to obtain the image style and quality I want, but It will make me slow down and truly think about my shortlist, my approach to my subjects and allow me to have more ways outside of the camera and computer to experiment and create - which I very much need.

  • How do incorporate more of a physical aspect into my work?

    I think by using film, producing prints and finding different ways of printing and utilizing a sketchbook will help me produce a clear sense of narrative, help with my photo selections, give me a better sense of what I should be shooting, which will then allow me to have a clear idea of how this project will best be presented and consumed my an audience.

  • How many locations do I want to shoot at? Will focusing on just one or two allow me to build better relationships in these chosen communities?

Now we are coming into winter months and travel is not as easy cost-effective, I have decided to focus on two locations in Colorado, One being, my current hometown of Jamestown, an old mining town up in the mountains and Alpen Glow Cohousing in Ridgway CO. I also plan to head back Arcosanti in the spring with a refined approach and direction.

I also feel like I need to include more visuals of the land of these locations, to help tell the full story of the connection of land and people in these places.

I did shoot a roll of film while I was at Arcosanti focusing on just that, without really meaning to and liked the outcome of the photos, but did not include them in my WIP, as they did not align with the aesthetic.

Seeing these made me realize, that if I had put more thought and direction into shooting this way I would, but have been satisfied with the overall outcome of my where my project was at the end of Surfaces and Strategies.

I did get out a few times with this new approach in mind and I am really pleased with the results. I focused on shooting landscape that has been added to or changed by people in some way.

I then developed (and scanned) my film at home, by hand which gave some interesting results as my tanks were not completely clean I got some bubble marks on the negatives, not something I would want moving forward, but I am not disappointed it happened.

Overall I’m happy with how these turned out and excited to move forward with this approach. It has definitely given me fresh inspiration and confidence in moving forward with my project.



Surfaces & Strategies // Contextual research // Elena Damiani.

I have recently come across work by Elana Damiani, and have been very inspired by her project Fading Feilds which reflects on the past and present.

The viewer struggles to grasp at once to totality of the image, which keeps fusing with the space in the background. As a result, the works function as constant reminders that it is only through the eyes of the present that we can catch a glimpse of the past, and that both realms -virtual and physical- merge constantly in the act of remembrance.

- Elena Damiani

The images from this project of hers are printed on to silk chiffon, which is translucent and causes the image to fade in and out of site depending on the position of the viewer.

I find my self drawn to her way of layering and manipulation of the images without making to many changes to the actual photo its self and allowing each image to be its self, and this has inspired me to start thinking that rephotography could play a role in my work, to help make the past of certain area's like Twentynine palms more apparent and shows it’s evolution to the present.

I am also very inspired by the way this work is presented. Having it displayed at a large scale helps to really capture the viewer's attention and wonder, allowing them to "play" with images.

Surfaces & Strategies // Contextual research // Reflection

"I think of my life’s work as a celebration of all of nature, an orchestra that plays not the sounds of one musician, the music of one species, but rather an expression of all of nature’s songs."

- Gregory Colbert

Gregory Colbert's’ Ashes to Snow exhibitions, has long been an inspiration, mostly because they are so immersive.

The work that he creates is very intimate, bold and moving, and I think that allowing people to really feel the full expression of his work an immersive experience is the only way to really do so. I also feel that when you create such an experience, it opens up the work to more people and a wider audience, as there is a draw not just to the work, but to the event its self.

When I come to producing my own work and creating an experience, realistically I will not be producing a show on such a scale as Ashes to Snow, but I want to take elements from it. I want to be able to create spaces that are intriguing, intimate and open to a verity of people.

Creating small structures that could be placed almost anywhere, at this stage would be very doable.

Have something small with minimal materials will be easy enough to construct and place in a public space, where it would be accessible to a number of different people.

I have been thinking about producing a small exhibit with 3-4 images printed and presenting them in some sort of fashion such as the examples below.

Surfaces & Strategies // W. Four course work // Hands Off! // Refection

This week was one of the more refreshing and inspiring weeks so far. 

I am always drawn to the work of Mike and Doug Starn, two twin brothers that have been together since their teenage years. They have a very conceptual approach to photography. Over the years they have worked with silver gelatin papers and a number of toning and bleaching methods, they tape together fragments of torn and distressed prints together and use other materials such as wood and metal to create beautifully crafted images that go beyond a simple print. 

I very much admire their approach and the way they challenge the idea of photography.

More recently I have come across Peter Calderwood & Lena Gustafson of Night Dier Press a small print press in California. They create and publish prints, books, zines, and monotypes using a number of different processes and alternative printing techniques.

The cyanotype prints caught my eye especially and I was considering trying cyanotype for this weeks activity as I have never done it before.

Not having a lot of time to create more in-depth images and layering for the cyanotypes, I used found objects, mostly from the garden, and overall, I like the results, but more so I enjoyed the precesses, and it has made me consider possibly adding cyanotype prints to my work.

High Desert // Project Proposal // First Thoughts

I was originally going to submit my project idea called Gray. It's one I have been coming back to on and off for quite some time, but have not really found the right way to approach it.

The Gray project dives into my family history and is centred around the disappearance of my great grandfather Ben Gray. He went missing in the late '70s and the project explores the impacted it had my family. There is a lot of family folklore around this story, which I find interesting and think it would make an intriguing photo essay.

My family were (and some still are) ranchers in Gunnison and the Uncompahgre Valley in Colorado. Ben Gray was quite the cowboy. Along with being known for his rodeos, he was suspected of rustling cattle and horses, which as you can imagine made him not so popular with some people in that community. There are two main stories that I have heard over the years. One is that he was murdered by a hit man hired by his brother, and two that he had a dispute about land, and horses with neighbouring Ute tribe members at the time that lead to him disappearing, and again possibly murdered.

I have found it hard to dive into because there is a lot of hypothetical situations and a lot of family, and somewhat social politics involved that I am not sure I want to approach yet.

How does this relate to my current project proposal?

Two of the biggest themes I find myself drawn to consistently are spaces and landscapes... and the people that inhabit them.

Documenting my surroundings and the people in them became a very natural way for me to communicate and connect my UK and US friends and family. Over the years I have noticed that I have always been drawn to the run down, the abandoned, the somewhat lonely looking structures, wild landscapes that paint the picture of the American West and the people that live there or once did.

Above is early GCSE and A level work. This is when I started exploring the idea, but at the time it was more reflective of me searching for identity and being an angsty teenager. Naturally.

(Photos 1 & 2 of an abandoned motel and cars Blue Mesa, CO. Photos 3 & 4 an abandoned house in Langdon North Dakota)

Jumping to current time, this theme is still prevalent and is a strong foundation in all my work. However, now what I am drawn to when I see these places and people, is the impact we have had on the environment and how it has affected past and present generations.

High Desert is a project about life in western America, starting in Colorado and exploring other high desert areas, such as New Mexico, Utah and possibly parts of California.

What I want to delve into with this project is:

*The Utopian / Dystopian balance in this environment

*The history of our relationship with the land and how is it now. Is it evolving?

*The extremes that come from the high desert environment and how we react to it.

-such as the structures we create, and what materials we use

-the emotional response we have to it

*How can we improve the way we use the land, and can we make amends for what we have already done?

My initial research and inspirations:

Jason Lee - A plain view

Source // Instagram //    @jasonlee

Source // Instagram // @jasonlee

''My aim isn’t to make it depressing, but there is a little bit of a loneliness to it,” Lee says. “In a way, that’s kind of interesting, because it makes you want to stop and maybe pay a little more attention. It’s isolated, in a way. There’s something isolated about it, so you’re focused on what the thing is as its own piece, but then hopefully there’s a cohesive overall piece.” - form a format article

I love the gentle stillness in his work, and the very classic representation of the abandoned American dream, which I think is hard to avoid when approaching this topic.

Morgane ErpicumVolatile Permanence

Her focus on the environment itself is what really draws me in. Also very attracted to the stillness and the sometimes abstract point of view she has of the landscape.

Source // Instagram //    @ morganeerpicum

Source // Instagram // @morganeerpicum

Eduardo Cerruti / Stephanie Draime - www.cerrutidraime.com

Source // Instagram //    Stephanie Draime

Source // Instagram // Stephanie Draime

They use the abandoned, dystopian backdrop to emphasize a product or lifestyle. The duality of that intrigues me. 


Blue Sky Center - About

An organisation building resilient, thriving and inclusive rural economies.

Source // Instagram //    @ blueskycenter

Source // Instagram // @blueskycenter


Andrea Zittel - About 

Artist Andrea Zittel created a number of pods inspired by NASA mars space tents on her property in the desert near Joshua Tree CA.

Source // Instagram //    @ andreazittel

Source // Instagram // @andreazittel


Other research /inspirations: Ghost Ranch NM, and Mesa Verde national park, CO


W.Three // Rethinking Photographers //

 Manufacturers and Developers

In relation to your own practice and professional activity:

What is the impact of ever changing technology

I think we live in a world where the novelty of photography is still very much present as it was back when it was becoming more accessible in our daily lives. We just happen to live in a time that gives us the ability to build cameras that we can carry around with us, cameras that can produce still and motion all in one - which leads us to produce more images and spend more money on the ever changing gadget, which seems to lead the consumer to believe that there is a need to constantly update, because I feel some believe its the technology that makes the photographer.

What challenges has this presented you with?

When I first made the leap into the digital photography from the analogue world I did get overwhelmed with the amount of other photographers out there. It was daunting and a big investment, to begin with, but after committing to it and realizing I still had something to offer as a photographer and did not have to give up shooting analouge it was less overwhelming.

How have you embraced (or rejected) changing technology?

Though I have not given up shooting analouge, I have embraced digital and what comes with it.

How do you think the way cameras are marketed affects people’s perception of the value of professional photography?

I feel that some people will buy a camera (or use one they have) because they see that as a better way to spend their money and take their our photos, thinking, again it’s the camera that makes the photographer, and sometimes it works out, but by doing that they dismissing the value of your time and skills as a photographer.

I think that point of view will always be around, and I feel that it spreads beyond photography. There are a lot of people do understand the value of the professional photographer and are willing to invest.


W.TWO // Interdisciplinary Approaches //

Other Than Photography

I have recently discovered the work of Afton love and when I did it instantly struck a chord with me. 

Her work reflects on our connections with the natural world and there is a truth beyond us, and that it is changing as much as we are. I really appreciate that she immerses herself into these landscapes and produces work in multiple disciplines, that can be intricate and labour intensive, yet when finally presented has a beautiful simplicity fills you with wonder.

Afton love

Afton Love // https://aftonlove.com/section/435721-drawing.html

Afton Love // https://aftonlove.com/section/435721-drawing.html

With my work, I have always wanted to have some form of human elemet present, whether it be a person, an item of clothing... a building left to the elements etc, and want to convey similar ideas about how we connect and use our surrounds as a  reflection of ourselves. 

I'm intrigued by how people live their lives and what they leave behind after we have built up the world we want to live in, and a part of me has always wanted to dive deeper into the impact this has on the natural world and the effects it has on future generations. 


Refection

This week was a little harder than I thought it would be but useful, mostly because I have been reflecting a lot on old work, on what/who I was inspired by and how I took that inspiration and used it to communicate within my own work.

I have noticed there has always been two layers to my work. One layer is inspired by artists such as Rauschenberg which ties into my desire to relay current happenings of the world around me, not just in a visual sense, but more as a reaction and a way to communicate a mood through texture colour and photo.

The second layer is the desire to create simpler images, that still reflects my point of view with the same depth I indent those layers to create. Collin Hughes and Emma Elizabeth Tillman have been my biggest inspiration lately.

Both, in my opinion, are connected to their surroundings and deliver intriguing, relatable and beautiful images that draw you in.

Katy // Taos 2018

Katy // Taos 2018

Creede, CO // 2017

Creede, CO // 2017

2017 was when I really started to think about moving in this direction and started to simplify my images. it has been harder at certain times, epically when the perfectionist in me has not been satisfied.


W.ONE // POSITIONS & PRACTICE // GLOBAL IMAGE

A World Wide Medium 

Do you see any parallels between the historic spread of photography and the transmission of digital imagery today? 

Can you think of any problems associated with the speed at which the photograph moves?

I often think about how photography has been used in the daily lives of people since it became an accessible medium that most anyone can use as a form of expression and documentation. 

In my opinion, photography, to this day still has a grasp on us the way it did when in the 1800s and I feel that, it is very much human nature to want to share our lives be it curated, an honest documentation or a projection of a lifestyle that we want to be associated with, with people within and outside of our social groups.

The difference today is that we have the technology that allows us to produce and consume images faster than before that the value and impact of the image, I feel can sometimes be missed. Which makes the subject of the photo easy to be overlooked or misunderstood.  


Windows on the world

What do you make of the mirror and window analogy?

As a practitioner do you identify more closely with one or the other?

As a photographer I use my work mostly as a window.  I have always been interested in using my camera as a way of communicating from day one. My interest came mostly out of a desire to connect with my family, friends, and myself. I was born in the US and raised in the south of England, two very different worlds that I wanted to understand each other, and photography was a very natural way for me to form that connection, by capturing small parts of that daily life from each side.

I still aim to do that with my work now, but I realize that the photo you want to create as a window, is very much a reflection of the situation you create as the photographer.

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 8.38.02 AM.png

A gathering to say goodbye to my father in law, who passed away a few months before. // June 2016 // Wyoming USA.